Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - What?

8"x10" oil
When I photographed this cute little guy he was really unsure of what I wanted.  It made him look reticent which was not what I was going for.  He had that look that said, "What?"  My husband eats bacon and I am a vegetarian, so I buy him bacon crumbles from the warehouse store and that way he always has some meat to sprinkle on his salad, eggs, or rice.  I went and got some of his bacon to see if I could convince the pup to cooperate.  It did the trick a little too well.  I suddenly had all his attention and could have had him dressed in a clown suit and juggling balls for those bacon bits. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to bribe people so easily?  Maybe not.  I don't think I could handle that kind of power.  I have a lot of fun things coming up that require much preparation. I suspect when people are trying to break into my concentration force field I give them that look of, "What?"  I am not sure if I just blundered through multiple things when I was younger or if in fact I just can't do so many things at one time now that I qualify for Medicare.  My life is made of lists and if it isn't on the list, it just ain't going to happen!  I can't complain though.  I got to meet a sweet little dog that hasn't quite got the gist of manners or good behavior but has loads of potential.  I have days filled with things on my list that I get to do and on a good day, I get to check a lot of them off my list.  Right post....check....that's done!  Go Figure!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - Spillway

6"x6" oil
I am going to a workshop next week which is facilitated by Mark Boedges.  He is an amazing landscape painter and I really hope I learn 4 really great things.  I figured out at some point that if I can take 4 things away from a workshop, then my work might improve.  If I try and take every good bit of information and latch onto it, well I default to overload.  Then, my painting suffers, my self esteem suffers, my husband suffers and....well you get the point.  All the good stuff just goes to my own spillway.  A few years ago hurricane Irene blew through Vermont wreaking havoc throughout the state.  Lefferts Pond took a hit and the spillway and bridge between the pond and the lake blew out. They have since rebuilt it and it is beautiful.  I am coming off a big show and numerous other wonderful things in my life, and I feel like I can barely hold on to the important things. My spillway is working, keeping the catchment of my life together for the important things, and letting go of the rest.  I guess that is the best we can hope for.  There is a balance in that.  I have been trying to find a balance and I think I am going to hold on to the spillway metaphor.  Go Figure!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - Celebrate!

8"x8" oil
I feel a little guilty posting a painting image called "Celebrate!" when so many are mourning the events in Charlottesville from this past weekend. I too, am saddened by the injuries and death that occurred.  The attention that North Korea was intensely getting at the end of last week seems to be put on hold in the capsule of fear about the Alt-Right.  That is the way with news.  There is only so much space and time to put out a message, so one gets sidelined for another.  I want to spend my short time to put out a message of love and peace and celebration because, one eye may only see the sadness and discouragement, but the other can see the beauty and the good.  I think wisdom is missing from the social commentary.  I do not believe we should bury our heads in the sand, but I do believe that confronting radicals on the brink of violence is unwise.  We need a strong voice in our culture for understanding each other and a clear message that hatred is unacceptable.  We can respect the rights to differing opinions, but I do not believe that the voices of the KKK or neo-Nazi idealists are merely a differing opinion, but rather a refection of evil.  I just saw that Trump has finally denounced them.....finally.  I think we need to take their rhetoric off the front pages, out of our faces and reduce their voices by not giving them our attention.  Is anyone with me on this?  Maybe I am talking to the mirror...who knows?  Go figure!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - Forever Friends

8"x10" oil
Shelburne Farms is the setting for this scene.  The balustrade is in the gardens overlooking Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains in NY state.  These women are some of the important women in my life.  I feel very blessed to have had so many wonderful females in my life, starting with my mother who was humble, sweet, nurturing, supportive and offered unconditional love.  She taught me to see the world in a joyful way and tried to teach me to not be swayed by silly things, opinions or people.  She was an artist and one of my dreams came true when she and I attended a Dreama Tolle Perry painting workshop together.  I miss her funny way of saying things, her passion for her family and her wonderful giggle.  She wasn't perfect, like the rest of us, but her faults have faded in my mind because her positive qualities overshadowed them.  I remember as a 12 year old hearing her story about her mother's death when she was 12 and thinking I could not go on without my mom.  It helped me start to see her amazing strength.  She couldn't read and would have been diagnosed with dyslexia if they had known what it was back then, and she was left-handed, another deficit.  She was one of 13 siblings and the school decided she was unteachable and was needed more at home rather than get an education.  She was ashamed about this, but I think it just goes to show what a resourceful woman she was.  She went to art school for a short time and joined the Navy as a bookkeeper because she was a wiz with numbers.  She was a talented mom to five kids and the true definition of great homemaker.  She felt insecure about her lack of education, but taught herself to read and educated herself and she and my dad both valued their children getting an advanced education.  I didn't know, until I was an adult, that my mom had been faking her way life because she couldn't read.  So many things made sense then, like: not ever reading to us when we were little, spending nights up reading when we were teens, and the way she wrote notes in beautiful penmanship but would always leave out words.  Vocabulary was important to my parents. My dad taught me the word "facetious,"  and he was a good example of that.  My mom taught me to use "flibbertigibbet," of which she was not at all!  Go Figure!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - Tumbling

8"x10" oil  $200

Letting out a big sigh of relief right about now.  I just delivered well over 100 figurative paintings (including the one featured here)  to the Castleton Downtown Gallery for a show which opens the first of July.  Like so many things in life, getting ready for this show, aptly titled Go Figure, was fraught with many potential stumbling blocks. Rather than describing the mundane frustrations I have encountered, I will just say that it was a bit like the little tufted titmouse who repeatedly is flying into my window convinced that the image of a threatening competitor is real! Nothing too interesting or life altering in any of that, but it has brought to mind more important events that have changed the course of my life.  One of those was the arrival of my youngest son, Harry.  He arrived with that first name and a heartbreaking back story.  He was an abandoned baby, teeny weeny and clearly scared.  My memory of holding him for the first time was of him gripping my skin with his fingers and toes and holding himself on to me for dear life.  This is not normal behavior for a 6 month old who should be all soft and floppy.  This unprecedented early physical development, although the result of survival skills, has served him well.  He is a natural athlete and incredibly strong.  It took almost 12 years for the adoption to go through, but that day stands as one of the happiest in my life. I could, and probably should, write a book about all we have been through, but the happy ending to the story is that he is a handsome and successful adult who has a sweet and loving personality. Aside from my parents, he has done more to form the better parts of my character than anyone else.  It is easy for others to view our story and react by saying what a wonderful thing I have done for him.  But, truth be told, it really is the other way around....Go Figure! 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - Umbrellas

8"x10" oil Not for Sale
It is so easy to forget that for the majority of my life I have not had immediate access to obscure information at my fingertips, literally.  In my father's lifetime, he went from flying a heavy tin can around to seeing a man land on the moon.  We can instantly talk face to face, "2001: A Space Odyssey" style, to friends across the globe.  It is amazing, but equally amazing that we can also take courses online for free or very little money.  This painting is a result of Leslie Saeta's online course of painting with a palette knife, which is something new for me.  I have been thirsty for a change in my artwork, and even though I don't think painting with a palette knife is it, it is a nice tool to add to my bag of tricks. There are tons of online classes available and the advantage of them is not just the low cost, but the opportunity to take your time or move quickly through them.  The drawback is the lack of interaction with other students or an instructor, however most of the art instructors I have become familiar with are willing to correspond via email.  I think it is a great way to mix things up a bit and step into new territory.  It gives those brain neurons new pathways and shakes things up a bit.  It will take making a bunch more of these paintings to feel comfortable with the palette knife, so it may take me while...but I am in no hurry.  Considering that I am well into the last quarter of my life, that may not be true about everything....Go Figure!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - Spring Bouquet

11"x14" oil on canvas, $350
OK so this is not a figure...lets see if I can make a connection, because of course, that is what it is all about.  There is a quote in the Bible that speaks about not worrying, just asking, that goes something like this....the flowers in the field don't work and yet King Solomon wasn't dressed this good.  So, if we make the assumption that God dressed the flowers and he takes care of our needs too...that sort of associated flowers with the figure of a person.  I may be stretching this one a bit, but there is an importance in making the connection and it does seem to be the point of almost everything.  My paintings have little meaning without the connection...without someone who is moved by them.  I get something out of it too, in the making of it.  I feel meditative, which is good for my soul.  I feel struggle, concentration, problem solving, and discovery which is all good for my brain.  I feel the "zone" which is good for tapping into that creative power bigger than all of us put together.  However, without the connection to others, there is no purpose in finishing them.  When they are successful, it taps something in many and gives them joy.  That is enough for me ultimately.....but of the short term, it is also my livelihood and I did put a price on I guess I also want to sell it.  Oh well, so much for lofty ideals....Go Figure!
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